Our friend David Beahm, floral designer extraordinaire and now the owner and proud father of Thistledew Farm @davidbeahm, growing flowers and produce from heirloom seed, asked us to look up a word that was written on some seeds sent to him by an admirer.
So we tried s-p-e-z-o-n-e-l-l-a: nothing. Double z: nope. Diminutive of something else? Spezzone means “excerpt” or “clip”—that doesn’t seem to be a likely name for a flower.
Finally I thought, “maybe it’s not a z at all, but a print-script hybrid r?” Sure enough speronella is delphinium, but interestingly, according to Wikipedia (in Italian) it is the common name for delphinium and speronella is itself derived from the words “spron di cavaliere” or horseman’s spur.
Which made me think of our common name for delphinium which is larkspur. So two peoples see in the flower’s shape a spur―one a rider’s boot, one a a bird’s foot.